Main Engine Cut Off

Opinion and analysis of spaceflight, exploration, policy, and strategy, by Anthony Colangelo.

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T+277: SabreSat, VLEO, and DARPA’s Otter Program (with Spence Wise, SVP of Missions and Platforms at Redwire)

Redwire announced today that it has been awarded a contract from DARPA to serve as the prime mission integrator for its Otter program. For the program, and for the industry beyond that, they’ll be developing SabreSat, an air-breathing spacecraft flying in VLEO. Spence Wise, Senior Vice President of Missions and Platforms at Redwire, joins me to discuss the program, VLEO generally, and to dive into the technical and operational details of SabreSat.

📓 Show Notes

T+276: Mars Sample Return Studies, NSSL Phase 3 Lane 1 Selections

NASA selected the organizations who will be carrying out mission design studies for the Mars Sample Return rethink, and the US Space Force selected the first 3 bidders for the National Security Space Launch Program Phase 3 Lane 1.

📓 Show Notes

T+275: Starliner’s First Crew, Starship’s Fourth Flight

Starliner flew its first crew, Starship flew its fourth flight, Chang’e-6 collected its first samples, and Agnikul Cosmos flew its first mission.

📓 Show Notes

T+274: The Vulcan and Artemis Roadmaps

United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan debut went smoothly, but sluggish hardware integration raises doubts about meeting commitments, while Orion faces heat shield issues, potentially shaking up the Artemis manifest.

📓 Show Notes

T+273: Mars Sample Return

NASA is heading back to the drawing board for a Mars Sample Return architecture, and is accepting proposals for mission studies by May. I talk about a few takeaways from the communication of that plan, and ponder whether or not SpaceX is going to do the damn thing.

📓 Show Notes

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